Companies in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries are not usually known as early technology adopters. Fiercely private and risk-averse, firms in these two spaces tend to wait until vendors have matured before engaging with them. Adoption of cloud computing services in the industry has definitely accelerated in the last couple years though.
Why Pharma & the Cloud Make Good Partners
Now that some of the biggest players like Pfizer are publicly acknowledging their use of cloud services, there will undoubtedly be a trickle-down effect with virtually all companies utilizing some form of the technology.
Outside of the federal government, life sciences and pharma are two of the most sought after purchasers by software companies. They generally have a reliable revenue stream and tend to dramatically increase headcount over time, if successful. Deployments can be complex, but customers often become respected case studies for the cloud provider.
One area of cloud computing particularly well-suited for life sciences/pharma is online collaboration. Drug discovery takes a large amount of research. All of this data must be stored, shared, and searchable. Teams must be highly collaborative to achieve successful discoveries.
Below are three reasons online collaboration solutions are seeing strong adoption in both life sciences and pharmaceutical industries:
Better Cloud-Based Security – The initial reluctance to move documents and workflow to the cloud centered on security concerns. Security breaches like the 2014 Sony hack have done little to quell those fears, despite the hackers having infiltrated on-premise software at the entertainment company.
Cloud computing companies have nevertheless taken great strides to make clouds more secure. Dual-factor authentication (password + IP address) has become almost a de facto standard. Most online collaboration tools also provide a full audit trail, showing who looked at what documents and when. We’re also seeing hybrid-cloud being a viable option for companies looking to dip their toes into the technology.
More Distributed Workforces – Life sciences and pharmaceutical companies have always gravitated towards having a distributed workforce. Though many companies are headquartered in US, they need to recruit globally to meet their staffing needs (and sometimes for accounting purposes also).
At WorkSmart.net, we’ve particularly seen a rise in the number of European headquartered companies with global offices. These organizations are highly complex. Having an online collaboration solution fosters greater interaction amongst the distributed teams and increases productivity.
It is also easier to manage a cloud-based collaboration tool than an on-premise intranet, along with greater adoption percentages among employees. At client Sygnature Discovery, IT Administrator Emma Doyley reports that WorkSmart’s solution is “easy and intuitive to use, whilst providing a range of functions.”
More Client/Partner Interaction – The walls that separated life science/pharma companies from clients and partners are starting to crumble. Two-way communication has become the norm, as rapid feedback has become essential.
To achieve that, we’ve seen more and more clients using our online collaboration solution to set up Extranets. This allows you to work with your partners and clients without having to add them to your Active Directory. More interaction leads to deeper relationships.
There’s no question that cloud-computing is becoming more mainstream. Online collaboration solutions are making great strides. No longer are they used merely as document storage tools. This year, I guarantee we’ll see more headlines of pharmaceutical & life science companies increasing productivity thanks to the cloud. The only question is which pharmaceutical & life science companies will take the lead on adoption.